The sharing of knowledge and best practice across government has the potential to significantly boost the management of public resources. A significant barrier to achieving this, however, is extracting and collating the right information.
With the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI), this is changing. The Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA), an audit function that covers 15 departments and over 120 arm’s length bodies (ALBs), has developed an AI tool called Insights Engine to read and categorise thousands of government documents.
Insights Engine promises to improve insight and reduce workloads. It will be used to identify key themes from network analysis of the documents, extract the most relevant paragraphs of text for a given topic and produce interactive reports that summarise the findings.
The audit agency said it has been using the tool to analyse Annual Opinion reports, which enabled one person to review 102 reports in the same time it previously took a team to manually analyse 13 reports.
Cross-government knowledge sharing
GIAA has recently received £24,793 in funding from the Government Office for Technology Transfer (GOTT) to develop the tool further, enabling the analysis of a wider range of government documents and to identify cross-government trends.
Dr Iain McGregor, Director of Innovation and Development at GIAA, said the grant from GOTT has enabled “a more refined use” of the Insights Engine.
"We have since continued to develop it ourselves, to incorporate more features for users, but GOTT’s funding has helped us in the journey to expand it across government. Additionally, our dedicated point of contact at GOTT has given us helpful suggestions and helped refine our approach," he said.
The Insights Engine has already been adopted by other government departments, including HM Treasury and His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Services.